Searchlight SEO

A Scary Website Redesign Disaster (And How We Saved It)

We were in dire need of a site face-lift.

Bamboo Solutions is an independent software vendor. We are a Microsoft Gold-certified partner. We look at functionality gaps within Microsoft SharePoint and write programs to fill them.

Our previous site was very clearly written by technical people. Which is great if your audience is all technical people, but we have a lot of end users as well. We’ve been trying to and are currently in a state of working on not being solely support material or online documentation. Our main focus for our new website was optimal content and the best user experience — making everything simpler, easier, and clearer.

We’ve been trying to and are currently in a state of working on not being solely support material or online documentation. Our main focus for our new website was optimal content and the best user experience — making everything simpler, easier, and clearer.

Doing it Right: Scheduling the Website Launch for the Holiday Traffic Lull

We’re a B2B company with seasonal walls just like any other B2B company. During Christmas and New Year’s, everyone is out. There is no one in the office and no one looking at our site. We scheduled our new website launch for early December so if there were any issues, we could work on it when we knew there would be a traffic lull.

To prepare, I held a quick a 2-hour meeting with our product team about SEO and basic things to look out for. That way, when I go through myself, I’ll only have to worry about title tags, descriptions, or other more specialized SEO best practices. I can tweak as opposed to having to create everything from scratch.

With a call to Google and a site map done, we were ready for a fresh, new site identity.

A Little SEO Luck and Searchlight

A major challenge we face in our industry is the breadth of our products; it’s bigger than our competitors’. We have to compete in so many different arenas that, as a marketing professional, it’s difficult to keep our messaging and keyword-targeting consistent. That’s why having top-notch SEO for every page on our site is extremely important.

We have to compete in so many different arenas that, as a marketing professional, it’s difficult to keep our messaging and keyword-targeting consistent. That’s why having top-notch SEO for every page on our site is extremely important.

After New Year’s, one of our product managers had just finished updating a product page and asked me to look at it. He was testing himself to see how much he remembered from the SEO training I gave him.

Like always, I went to Searchlight to see how things were doing. But something was different: there were a particularly large number of Recommendations. I looked into what was going on and my worst nightmare had just come true: when the site re-launched, the field in our CMS that populates as a meta description got turned off.

Every single product page was void of any meta description.

Bamboo Solutions in Searchlight

Searchlight shows what looks like a typical seasonal lull in traffic. But a view of traffic alone wasn’t enough to alert us to the website redesign problem. Without Recommendations, it would’ve been difficult to attribute the drop to the seasonal lull or to the lack of meta descriptions.

Unfortunately, our development office is in our Vietnam branch and I had to work with them to get that fixed in the back end. Luckily, they were able to do it in a couple of hours and we managed to get all our descriptions up.

Take Precautions Before Your Next Website Redesign

Let this be a lesson: you’re always vulnerable during site redesigns. Make sure you are measuring your performance, before and after your website redesign, so you’ll know what to quickly fix if anything goes wrong (and a thousand little things can). Hey, and if things go right, you’ll be able to prove the value of your website redesign with your before and after picture.

Arm yourself for your next site redesign or migration. Check out this resource kit to make sure you’re taking the right precautions: Website Migration and Website Redesign Best Practices.

  • Ned

    Just to be clear, the big drop on the left of that chart was a strategic change in our analytic reporting, the one that rebounds is the time frame mentioned in the post!

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